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Daily Digest - November 6, 2014

“While the work of being a sanctuary church is difficult, it is absolutely worth it to get to know this family.” — The Rev. Jim Wiltbank, St. Francis of the Foothills United Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson church provides sanctuary

TUCSON, Ariz. (UMNS) — Francisco Perez Cordova, an undocumented husband and father, spends time with his wife and five U.S.-born children. He works hard and pays taxes. He does all this while living in sanctuary at St. Francis of the Foothills United Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona. Kate Strohmeyer, writer for the United Methodist Desert Southwest Conference, has the story.

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Theology school struggles with pollution, housing

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — A thin film of gray powder covers the scattered vegetable patches, hiding the green leaves. A gust of wind brings more of the toxic dust from the nearby factory that manufactures fertilizer. Pollution is just one of the daily struggles at United Theological College, where students face difficulty getting enough clean water or adequate housing. Eveline Chikwanah, communicator for the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference, reports.

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Alaska native goes from pews to pulpit

NOME, Alaska (UMNS) — Charley Brower is a rarity as a native Alaskan serving as pastor of a congregation in the state. He talks about his connection to the community, about how he came to lead Nome’s Community United Methodist Church, and about God’s presence as seen in the natural beauty of Alaska.

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Pastor’s debut album penned during husband’s cancer struggle

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (UMNS) — When her husband was diagnosed with cancer, the Rev. Elise Erikson Barrett put aside everything to care for him through a failed course of chemotherapy and a successful bone marrow transplant. Now, her debut album explores profound questions of faith, love and loss that surfaced during her husband’s ordeal.

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Four Advent outreach ideas

MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) — During Advent many Christians seek to get beyond the usual routine of shopping and parties, in order to share God's love. The Rev. Jeremy Steele, for United Methodist Communications, provides ideas he has gathered from across the denomination that can help congregations and individuals reach out in new ways.

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New Mississippi United Methodist Foundation scholarship

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) — The Mississippi United Methodist Foundation announced the creation of the Rev. Larry Creel and Nancy Lyle Creel Endowment for Ministerial Scholarships. The couple created an endowment to assist future ministerial students with the cost of seminary. The Creels know the financial struggles seminary students face and wanted to help.

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Correction

A Nov. 5 item about Vital Conversations incorrectly referred to the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race as the Commission on Race and Religion.

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

Friday-Sunday. Nov. 7-9
United Methodist college student gathering "Imagine What's NEXT" — Conference for young adults includes discernment, fellowship, worship and inspiration, in Denver, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. $175 Details.

Saturday, Nov. 8
Retreat "Fresh Approaches to Reading the Bible for Transformative Spirituality" — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT at Scarritt Bennett Center, Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Glory Dharmaraj, retired director of spiritual formation and mission theology for United Methodist Women, will lead. $50. Details

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.